There aren’t enough days in the season for us to list all the lovely flowers that are blooming this Spring. Cherry Blossoms are by far one of the most beloved and sought after plants to see during the blooming periods, especially given that some species only last for a week, but there is another breed of flower that has garnered the attention of world travelers: the infamous tulip.
Infamous? Why so?
Well, supposedly, the tulips represent the first economic bubble and “stock market crash” in history. Considered extremely popular flower in Europe due to its unique blend of colors, the tulip flourished as a symbol of success during the Dutch Golden Age, when the newly independent Netherlands rose as a major trading power. As the merchant class grew with wealth, they began expanding their homes with luxurious gardens with the tulips as the main feature.
Ironically, the rarest and most thought after variety were tulips with white or yellow streaks on a red blossom which, today, are a sign of a diseased tulip suffering from TBV, or Tulip Breaking Virus. Today, the UK and US both ban the distribution of diseased bulbs and professional tulip producers carefully check each bulb for signs of the disease to prevent its spread.
What began as genuine appreciation for this plant grew rapidly into a massive industry wherein tulips were one of the major exports of the Netherlands. It is believed that in the spring of 1637, the tulip bubble burst, and the fields upon fields of sought after tulips were as useless as, well, a field of tulips.
For centuries tulip mania was associated with extreme economic speculation, but further recent into historical records show that the collapse wasn’t as bad as many believed it to be. However true the tales are, the tulip has lived on as a beautiful and unique display of wealth and success. Any trip to Amsterdam will come with spotting tulip gardens throughout the city. Just as strolling down the Red Lights District has risen as a popular past time for visitors to Amsterdam, so too is a scenic drive out of the city to see the fields of Netherlands where tulips are still grown today.
But the number one place to view the tulips is the famous Keukenhof Garden. Europe has numerous great attractions and Keukenhof is without a doubt one of them, standing as the largest garden in the entire continent, complete with 7 million bulbs of 800 different species. The entire garden spans 32 hectares (80 acres) of carefully designed arrangements and rows of tulips of all the colors of the rainbow.
The bad news? It’s only open from March 23 – May 21, just long enough to enjoy the pure beauty of the blooming period.
For 2017 the Garden is hosting its “Dutch Design” theme, which its “characterized by Dutch sobriety combined with innovative solutions.” The gardens will feature tributes to Dutch innovation in fashion, graphic design, architecture, and even furniture design, all of which will be integrated into the flower bulb gardens.
You’ll be able to explore new gardens based on the “Dutch Design” theme while exploring the flowers shows in the Oranje Nassau Pavilion and two inspirational gardens, including the Mondriaan Garden.
Visitors are free to explore the park with a guided tour or stroll, bike, or even cruise through the park on a romantic boat ride. The Garden will also feature events throughout the opening of the Garden, such as the poplar Flower Parade (seen above) and Romance at Keukenhof.
March 23-25, 2017: Keukenhof Music
March 31 – April 2, 2017: Holland Heritage Weekend
April 7-9, 2017: Keukenhof Flowermarket
April 14-17, 2017: Fun for Kids
April 22, 2017: Flower Parade
April 24-30, 2017: Keukenhof Dutch Design Week
May 6-7, 2017: Food & Flower Festival
May 13-14, 2017: Romance at Keukenhof
May 20-21, 2017: Flowers & Fashion Festival
Trips leave daily to Keukenhof and there plenty of competitively priced routes that don’t just include admission to the gardens, but tours of Volendam and Zaanse Schans, trips to modern day bulb fields, and even an Amsterdam city tour for those with limited time, all for less than $100. Or package it all together for a 4-night getaway.
However you choose to explore the park, expect to be surprised at the creative displays throughout the park, and don’t miss the chance to see the stunning Flower Parade!